Election: SV fire board candidates share focus on balanced budget
by Joe Shreve
Oct 04, 2012 | 13396 views | 9 9 comments | 760 760 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jane Armstrong
Jane Armstrong
slideshow
Lisa Bustichi
Lisa Bustichi
slideshow
Arthur Smith
Arthur Smith
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Alan Smith
Alan Smith
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Four candidates have lined up to run for three seats on the Scotts Valley Fire Protection District Board, a race that will be decided in the Nov. 6 general election.

The nonpartisan race features three incumbents, Jane Armstrong, Alan L. Smith and Arthur Smith, and a newcomer, Lisa Ann Bustichi. Each seek a four-year term on the five-person board.

 

Jane Armstrong

Originally appointed to the board in November 2002 following the death of a board member, Armstrong served the remaining half term and was elected by voters twice, in 2004 and 2008.

She has a background as a taxpayer advocate and business owner.

Of her near-decade as a fire district director, Armstrong said she was proud to help sustain the district’s programs while maintaining its financial solvency.

“For the 10 years I’ve been on the board, we have had a balanced budget with no tax increases,” she said. “We cut board pay, and we have controlled pension costs.”

Moving forward, Armstrong said her goals include maintaining existing fire safety programs, advanced life-support training, staff levels and neighborhood outreach about disaster awareness and preparation. She said she is also committed to working with unions to keep the district in the black.

“I’m planning on working really hard toward maintaining the financial soundness of the district,” she said. “We have had an amazing amount of cooperation with the unions.”

 

Lisa Ann Bustichi

As the newcomer in the fire district race, Bustichi, a 41-year Scotts Valley resident, offers a combination of business organizational skills and years of experience in community service groups.

“For many years, I’ve had a desire to do this,” she said.

Bustichi, cousin to former Scotts Valley Mayor Dene Bustichi, said if she was elected to the board, she would strive to ensure district tax dollars are spent wisely and that the budget is balanced.

She said her run for a seat on the board is motivated partially by her father’s history as a board member and partially by her experience working alongside city emergency officials as chief of Seagate’s emergency response team.

Bustichi said that as a member of the board, she would work to expand the district’s outreach efforts to the community to see that all are prepared in the event of a natural disaster.

“We want to keep our community a safe place,” she said.

Bustichi is a past president of the Scotts Valley Host Lions Club and Santa Cruz County Lions Eye Fund and is a member of Scotts Valley’s park advocacy committee.

 

Alan L. Smith

A board member since 2004, Smith has served twice as the board’s president and is seeking a third term.

He stressed the need for continuity in the district’s efforts to balance fiscal solvency with carrying out its duty.

“My goal is to maintain the quality of services that we have always had as far as fire prevention and emergency response in this district,” he said. “We have always done a good job, and it’s important we maintain it.”

The candidate highlighted his background as a business consultant as an important part of the ability he would contribute to the board.

“These next four years are going to require that we have some experienced businesspeople to keep a watchful eye on the revenue,” he said. “Having served on the board for some time now, my presence on the board provides the needed continuity.”

Smith added that his proudest achievement during his previous terms was serving “on the committee that did a lot of the work to identify, recruit and hire the best fire chief in the state.”

The district’s board hired Dan Grebil this year to replace Mike McMurry, who retired in March.

 

Arthur Smith

A board member since 1998, Smith is seeking a fourth term on the board, with a stated goal of maintaining services while weathering decreases in the property tax revenue that funds the fire district.

Smith’s background includes 34 years as a firefighter and 25 years managing a $5.4 million budget as the finance director for the nonprofit CDF Firefighters. He has also served on the board’s finance committee nearly eight years.

He said that if re-elected, he would use his experience to preserve as many district services as possible and maintain the highest feasible staff levels while keeping the ledger in the black.

“(Property tax revenue) increases aren’t keeping up with inflation,” he said, adding that the challenge was in “maintaining levels of service both (financially) and on the fire side.”

Comments
(9)
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Shanna Peuse
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October 06, 2012
I wholeheartedly back Lisa Bustichi! Lisa is highly driven and an extremely organized and responsible individual.
Blog watcher
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October 06, 2012
And it's clear that Lisa is very able to orchestrate and mobilize those who seem to genuinely support her, at least to post positive statements on this blog. Are they faux-reviews or the real deal? I guess we'll know if/when she's elected. Nicely done, people -- no critiques of the other (worthy encumbent) candidates. Just straightforward support for your candidate. With real names, no less! What a treat.
Mark Grace
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October 05, 2012
I have worked with Lisa for over 10 years. She is one of the most trustworthy and responsible people I know. She will be an great advocate for the Scotts Valley community on the Fire Board.
Joe G. Bugna Jr.
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October 05, 2012
Lisa Bustichi and I are and have been members of the Scotts Valley Advocates Board for many years. I currently have and had the pleasure to work alongside Lisa Bustichi on a number of City of Scotts Valley fund raiser projects, enhancement projects and other vital programs for the betterment of our community. Lisa’s commitment to Scotts Valley is exceptional. Lisa’s background will bring to the SV District Fire Board the kind of practical experience needed to continue to move our SV Fire District forward.

Lisa Bustichi has my full commitment and endorsement.

Joe G. Bugna Jr.

colinroberson
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October 05, 2012
I support Lisa Bustichi.
Diane BianconiMcNiel
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October 05, 2012
I have worked with Lisa for several years on community events and have found her to be very committed, loyal and is very detailed oriented she has my vote and I think she will give this position all shes got!!! Go Lisa Vote Yes for Lisa
LaurieL
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October 05, 2012
Lisa’s interest in this position comes from a family history of public service that spans three decades.

Although she is aware it is a political position, her commitment to her community and giving back to it is her driving force for entering this election.

You've got my vote Lisa!

Mike Cannestra
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October 05, 2012
I've worked with Lisa for over 10 years so I have seen how her passion and dedication can drive amazing results. Also her positive attitude helps bring people across multiple groups together in a coordinated effort.

Lisa will make an excellent addition to the SV Fire Board!

Angela Franklin
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October 05, 2012
I have known and worked with Lisa for years. She is thorough, efficient and consistent. She stands her ground when she believes in something and never waivers. She has a number of skills and her knowledge of Scotts Valley and its people would make her a great candidate for Fire Board.


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